The first edition of the Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe,
A beautiful copy
preserved in its fine contemporary binding.
Chateaubriand, François René de. Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe.
Paris, Eugène et Victor Penaud frères, 1849-1850.
12 volumes of 8vo [210 x 129 mm];
Green half-shagreen, ribbed spine decorated with gilt fillets and floral ornaments, sparkled edges, some foxing. Contemporary binding.
First edition of “one of the most important text of 19th century literature”. (Clouzot)
Clouzot, 66 ; Carteret, I, 163-164 ; Vicaire, II, 290-291 ; Talvart, III, p.16 ; Rahir, Bibliothèque de l’amateur, 366 ; En Français dans le texte, 268.
A precious and beautiful copy of the first issue including the notice to the reader and the list of subscribers that were removed when the left-over copies of the edition were sold to the bookseller Dion-Lambert.
We know that Chateaubriand had mortgaged his tomb when he sold his Mémoires in exchange for a life annuity of 12 000 F.
“These copies are more and more sought-after.” (Clouzot)
An autobiographical masterpiece destined by the author to be published only after his death, Les Mémoires d’outre-tombe are first published as a series three months after Chateaubriand’s death in July 1848.
“These Mémoires were the object of my predilection. Saint Bonaventure obtained from the heavens the permission of continuing his after his death. I don’t hope for such a favor but I would like to resuscitate at the ghostly hour to at least correct the proofs…”
In July 1817, in the park of the castle of Montboissier, a bird song awakens in him some memories of his youth : “I was drawn from my thoughts by the song of a thrush perched on one of the highest branches of a birch tree. In that instant, this magical sound caused my father’s home to reappear ; suddenly transported into the past, I once again saw the countryside landscapes where I so often heard thrushes sing…”
The Mémoires took up Chateaubriand’s time for more than half a century and allowed this visionary writer to reunite different periods of history and bring them to light.
“I met myself in two different centuries like at the confluence of two rivers.”
“The works and personality of Chateaubriand (1768-1848) dominate the literary scene of the 19th century.” Barbey d’Aurevilly says he was born, like Napoleon, with a star on his head, but whereas the Emperor’s paled and disappeared, his remained bright. Chateaubriand was praised and influential. The eyes of the world gazed at him and for a minute he participated in his country’s government. Above all, and it is quite a feat, he remained poetic. We owe him a new way of feeling, of thinking, of understanding and expressing ourselves. He opened the way to the Romantics. » (Talvart)
For more than half a century, Chateaubriand never ceased to work, as if it was some sort of gigantic Penelope’s canvas, on what would be his life’s work, Les Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe.
Through his own life, Chateaubriand tries to tell the history of his time.
A unique work, written in an incredibly diverse style right in the middle of the Romantic era, the Mémoires are made up of this delicate alchemy that blends reality with fiction, a psychological investigation, admirable portraits and some of the most beautiful descriptions of landscapes in our literature.
“Copies of this book in a contemporary binding of good quality are very hard to find.” (Clouzot)
A beautiful and precious copy of Chateaubriand’s masterpiece preserved in its contemporary half-shagreen binding.
At the time, the copy included the rest of G. Staal’s 30 steel engravings which decorate the first illustrated edition (1850).